Thailand to RECRIMINALIZE recreational marijuana following spike in cannabis-related hospitalizations and criminal incidents
By Ava Grace // Feb 22, 2024

Thailand is set to recriminalize recreational marijuana use just 18 months after the country decriminalized it.

The major reversal in government policy regarding cannabis consumption follows a spike in hospital admissions and a rise in crime linked to marijuana, as well as the perception that more and more Thai children are consuming the drug. This comes 18 months after becoming the first country in Asia to decriminalize the consumption of marijuana.

The previously relaxed laws saw Thailand create a lucrative cannabis industry in less than two years. This industry catered both to locals and tourists alike and created a small cannabis boom within the Southeast Asian nation.

But the new conservative coalition government of Thailand, which came to power late last year and promised to tighten rules, has followed through on its campaign pledge and is now restricting cannabis use to medical purposes only. (Related: Study links legalization, commercialization of cannabis to increased road accidents).

A draft bill released recently by Thailand's Ministry of Public Health has outlined penalties for offenders, from hefty fines to imprisonment for up to one year.

Cannabis and cannabis-related products will be limited to medical and health purposes only, the bill states, echoing Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin's pledge that his new government will "rectify" laws on cannabis upon taking office.

Under the relaxed laws, smoking marijuana in public remained illegal. The proposed new laws will not only retain this but will go further by banning all advertising and marketing campaigns for cannabis buds and extracts and other cannabis products.

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Thavisin has been vocal about banning recreational cannabis and stated in several media interviews that drug abuse is "a big problem for Thailand."

"We drafted this law to prohibit the wrong usage of cannabis," said Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew. "All recreational usage is wrong."

Marijuana was dropped as a controlled substance in 2022

Thailand dropped marijuana's classification as a controlled substance in June 2022. Since then, hospitalizations for cannabis-induced psychological problems have doubled. Now, over 63,000 people go to the hospital for cannabis-related medical problems each year. Furthermore reports of violence, abuse and other criminality linked to cannabis have also risen.

Thailand became the first country in Asia to legalize recreational marijuana in 2019, when the previous government promised doing so would be a boon to crop farmers in northern Thailand.

While there have been some limited economic benefits, legalization has given rise to a large unregulated black market. Data shows that more than 6,000 cannabis dispensaries have sprouted in the country, many working without government licenses.

There has also been a boom in tourists visiting the country to use marijuana recreationally, helping to fund cannabis-themed cafes and hemp spas.

The new bill will be putting an end to all this and will impose a minimum fine of 60,000 Thai baht ($1,673) for using cannabis "for entertainment or pleasure."

This is on top of the ban on public marijuana use, which carries a fine of 25,000 baht ($700).

The new restrictions also toughens punishment for people who farm cannabis without a license, ranging from jail terms of one to three years on top of fines of 20,000 to 30,000 baht ($560 to $840).

Watch this clip from "The David Knight Show" as host David Knight discusses the hidden truth behind medical marijuana use.

This video is from The David Knight Show channel on

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